Saturday, 16 January 2010
Climate change means colder weather, too
Over the last week I chatted with farmers next door, villagers down the road and commuters at the bus stop, and everyone said the same thing: “Does anyone believe in global warming now?”
Once you get your laughter under control, though, you might realise the joke is based on a mistake: that climate change will make everything slightly warmer. What we should expect instead is stranger weather – depending on where you live in the world, you might see the coldest, hottest, rainiest or driest weather ever. You might see all these things in a matter of months – just as in the last few months, Ireland saw unprecedented floods followed by bizarre snowstorms. This is, in fact, what climate change should look like.
We can never prove, of course, that those or any events are directly due to climate change, any more than we can say whether the economic downturn was the reason for an individual’s bankruptcy. Such an answer would involve comparing the individual’s fortunes with what they would have been if the economy had not plunged, and we will never know that. All we can say is that when the economy plunges, there are more bankrupcies -- but of course, there would have been a few anyway, and even in a depression a few people will be unaffected. So will it be with the climate in the years to come.
This photo is by FADA member Hermann Geissel, who took some amazing pictures of the snowbound Irish countryside.